By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJAâ€”LEADERS of the Niger Delta ex-militants, yesterday, agreed to commit themselves and their ex-combatants to the Post-Amnesty Programme implementation after a marathon meeting with the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Timi Alaibe.
The meeting was attended by former militant leaders including Ateke Tom, Government Epkemupolo (Tompolo), Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, Young Shall Grow, Osama Bin Laden, Fogbama George, Pastor Reuben, as well as, the Ijaw Youth Council President, Dr. Chris Ekiyor.
Dr. Ekiyor who spoke on behalf of the ex-militants leaders, said they had all resolved to support the President Goodluck Jonathan government by putting armed struggle behind them as they embrace implementation of the programme.
He said: â€œLeaders of the freedom fighters and their ex-combatants have resolved to support this post-amnesty programme to ensure its success. We have also resolved to support Mr. Alaibe which choice as National Coordinator meets our expectations and has generated a great level of confidence.
â€œWe have also resolved to go back to the Niger Delta to ask all ex-combatants to commit themselves to the success of the programme.â€
On whether the Niger Delta youths would henceforth allow peace to reign in the region, Ekiyor said: â€œTake a look at this hall. All leaders that you have been hearing their names are here. They all came here voluntarily.â€
Reminded that there were still pockets of violence in the region, he said, whoever is involved in any form of violence in the Niger Delta today is a common criminal, just like you have common criminals in Bauchi, Lagos, Kano or any other part of Nigeria.
He said: â€œThe armed struggle was a reaction to certain actions at a given period. The situation today is different and we appreciate the fact that certain steps have been taken to address the issues at stake.
â€œToday as we talk, check the oil production records. It has jumped and steadily increased; there is peace in the region now. Today white men are now walking the streets of Port Harcourt unmolested. The situation has changed.â€
In his remarks, Mr. Alaibe who is the National Coordinator of the programme said the ex-militantsâ€™leaders expressed satisfaction at the programme, having been informed of the detailed implementation plan.